Shakespeares' The Tempest - Look at act 1 scene 2 and explore the dramatic significance of their episode within the play.

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Look at act 1 scene 2 and explore the dramatic significance of their episode within the play.

Tom Platts 12L

The action during act 1 scene 2 takes place outside Prospero’s cell on the island, where his ship has been wrecked due to Gonzalo being ordered to give Prospero a leaky boat. In this significant scene we gain an insight of the remaining characters and learn more about the background of the play.

As we know, the first inhabitants introduced to the audience in this scene are called Miranda with her father Prospero. The scene’s opening establishes the fact that Miranda has seen the shipwreck of one of the fleet’s ships, and she asks her father to help the victims, which is seen as somewhat ironic because it was he, who caused the storm in the first place, despite it only being fictional. The reason for the storm was purely for the sake of Miranda. This for Prospero conveys his protection and concern for the well being of his daughter, but, for Miranda, it indicates her sensitivity and worry for the others. In her first speech on lines 10-11, she tells her father ‘Had I been any god of power, I would have sunk the sea within the earth.’ From this it means that she wanted the earth to envelop the sea instead of the ship sinking to the depths of the ocean with all its crew. We can also infer from her appeals to her father from her previous quote, the significance of magic, which is the first indication we have of Prospero’s supernatural powers. This suggestion is enhanced further in line 25, when Prospero talks of his gown, as it symbolises his magical powers. ‘Lie there, my Art’. There is more mention of his ‘Art,’ as during this scene, he was ‘raps in secret studies,’ which implies Shakespeare’s terminology signifies his studying of magic.  This suggestion is reinforced by the use of ‘transported’ on line 76 because this could be interpreted as enchantment. Therefore essentially, this scene provides a firm account for the character of Prospero, as a protagonist of ‘The Tempest.’

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The consequences of the storm, conveyed in scene 2 can provide a metaphor for the past turmoil in the lives of the characters. This is significant to the rest of the play firstly, for the reason that it symbolises the usurpation of the King of Milan (Prospero), which is like being overthrown in the stormy tides. Secondly, it shows earthly rulers, seen as powerless against the full elemental force of the storm, which implies a nature versus nurture battle, in conjunction with the natural serenity of the island, perfect before the dramatic social transformation of repentance, imprisonment, reconciliation and ...

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